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Originally published August 20 2009

Eating Curry Fights Dementia

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) Regular consumption of curry could reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia, according to a study conducted by researchers from Duke University and presented at the annual meeting of the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

"If you have a good diet and take plenty of exercise, eating curry regularly could help prevent dementia," researcher Murali Doraiswamy said.

Researchers conducted experiments on the effects of curcumin, a biologically active ingredient of the essential curry spice turmeric.

"There is very solid evidence that curcumin binds to plaques, and basic research on animals engineered to produce human amyloid plaques has shown benefits," Doraiswamy said. "You can modify a mouse so that at about 12 months its brain is riddled with plaques. If you feed this rat a curcumin-rich diet, it dissolves these plaques. The same diet prevented younger mice from forming new plaques."

Amyloid plaques and nerve fiber tangles are thought to be among the causative agents of the brain damage that produces the symptoms of dementia.

A clinical trial is currently underway at the University of California-Los Angeles to see if curcumin has the same benefits in human Alzheimer's patients as in mice. According to Doraiswamy, the evidence suggests that human beings would need to eat two to three meals of curry per week to lower their risk of dementia.

Because it would take more than 100 grams of curry powder to get enough curcumin to count as a clinical dose, scientists are exploring the possibility of developing a curcumin pill.

Doraiswamy warned, however, that even consuming massive amounts of curcumin could not compensate for a bad diet and sedentary lifestyle, two of the biggest risk factors for Alzheimer's disease.

Previous research has shown that curcumin also improves the symptoms of cancer and arthritis, and may help suppress the growth of body fat.

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